This post originally ran February 2005

Brave Heart

Next Monday is St. Valentine’s Day.  I’m sure this hasn’t escaped your notice–not if Hallmark has anything to say about it.  But just in case it escaped my attention, in the Young Man’s (I’ve been told, and I quote, “STOP! calling me Little, MOM”) homework was the a very terse announcement Monday is Valentines Day! Please have your child bring in valentines for their classmates

Are we feeling the love yet?

So the Young Man and I headed out to our local chain drug-store to acquire said valentines.  Our little borough is small enough that you have to get a jump on these things when the homework dictum comes down on Tuesday afternoon.  Or, Lord help you, your kid will be sending out the Strawberry Shortcake Valentines–and that’s if you wait until Wednesday.  Any later and you are relegated to handing out tiny boxes of the “OOP’s Conversation Hearts.” Evidently, spelling counts in these matters.  You can just imagine the outcry when some kid hands his mother a small candy heart and says, “Mom, What does ‘Good  F/*/C/K’, mean?” Or the confusion that would be created by the ever popular, “Be Dine” heart.  No, no, one must not procrastinate.

On our journey to the store I was informed that not only were we in the market for official valentines, “With Candy!” for his class, but the Young Man would also be purchasing a gift for the lovely and oh, so unattainable fifth grader, Chloe.  Yes,  that Chloe!

Really?” I inquired.  “What brought this on?  Last I heard you were only giving out Valentines to your classmates.”

“I don’t really want to get that deep into it,” he mumbled from the backseat.

Uh-huh, I bet.  “Well, Ok, I guess that’s not a problem.” We spent a few minutes wandering the aisles looking for appropriate Valentines for the class.  In eight-year old boy speak that means Valentines devoid of hearts and flowers but inclusive of some form of sugar, preferably the sort that creates a real mess.  Once we picked out a suitable box and ascertained that there were plenty enough for left-overs (also a crucial requirement for “appropriate”) the real pondering began.  What to get Chloe?

He finally settled on a heart shaped box of  Ferrero Rocher truffles and a nice but not too gushy card.  “What made you change your mind about giving Chloe a Valentine?” I asked.

“That falls under not wanting to go too deep into it, Mom!”

My kid never ceases to amaze me.  He has managed a way to say, “I love you” without uttering a word to a girl he has admired for two years and who will probably always be way out of reach (and so she should be–he’s only eight!).  That takes courage of the rarest form: the kind that risks being made a fool by the one you love.   And I can’t help but think about all the lost opportunities in my life to risk, all the times I wished I had stepped out in faith, knowing full well the odds were against me.  If you can’t risk for love on Valentine’s day, when can you?  You know, and I know, and even he knows he’s going down in flames.  But he  bought the Valentine just the same.

All I can say is that Chloe is a lucky girl.